Crisis of Over-Criminalization
What is over-criminalization? Over-criminalization generally insinuates that laws regulating public decency and morality is a distraction of sorts to law enforcement officials who could be spending time solving more important crimes rather than dealing in an individual’s personal fixation. Unnecessary reliance upon law enforcement officials to execute task for which it is ill suited has formed serious problems for the administration of criminal justice. (Kadish, 1967) The idea of criminal law enforcing morals on individuals deemed indecent is completely ineffective and it hinders effective law enforcement on actual menacing behavior. With law officials paying more attention to the immoral acts of others, the true crime of America is slipping through the cracks. The use the term over-criminalization is complete understatement in terms of criminal law. While certain legislative rules of morality may be already tagged onto specific crimes such as rape and murder, those same views may very well be improper to broaden its outreach to other aspects of our lives. It would be reasonable to ask: how far into the private lives of citizens may government-sanctioned views of morality properly intrude? One of the main reasons that question can be asked is because of the constant intrusion of sorts in the way of policing personal life preferences. For example, there are many Americans who live a dangerous lifestyle by drinking and partying and having sex with whom ever they please. In some cases they are practicing sexual activity with the same sex. Here is the kicker; there are constricting laws of morals that don’t allow that sort of activity among people in various parts of the U.S. In Texas (among many other States) they have the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is a law banning same-sex marriages. (marriage.about.com) That law is a prime example of over exerting moral standards. If people sodomize one another in a consensual manner,...
References: Schmallger, F. (2003) Criminal Law Today: An Introduction with Capstone Cases (2nd ed.) (UOP Special Edition Series) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Retrieved March 22, 2009 from the UOP ebooks collection
Stritof, S., Stritof, B. (2009). Same Sex Marriage License Laws. About.com: Marriage. Retrieved March 22, 2009, from http://marriage.about.com/cs/marriagelicenses/a/samesexcomp.htm
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